Fungi in megakaryocytes. An unusual manifestation of fungal infection of the bone marrow

J. A. Ferry, C. K. Pettit, A. E. Rosenberg, N. L. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


When fungi infect the bone marrow, typically they are associated with granuloma formation and/or necrosis, and the fungi are found within histiocytes or admixed with necrotic debris. Recently two bone marrow biopsy specimens were encountered in which fungi were confined to the cytoplasm of megakaryocytes, a finding not previously reported in the literature. The first case was that of a 46-year-old man with pulmonary histoplasmosis and no known immunodeficiency. The second was that of a 38-year-old man with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome and cryptococcal meningitis. In the first case, many megakaryocytes contained fungal forms consistent with Histoplasma. In the second, one small cluster of megakaryocytes contained several budding yeast consistent with Cryptococcus. Neither marrow biopsy specimen had necrosis, granulomas, or histiocytic infiltration. In both cases, because of the unusual localization of the fungi, they were initially overlooked. The bone marrow may contain fungi even in the absence of abnormalities suggesting fungal infection on routinely stained sections. A silver stain or a periodic acid - Schiff stain should be performed on all marrow biopsy specimens in cases of known or suspected fungal infection outside the marrow. The phenomenon of megakaryocyte emperipolesis is well known, and this process may be responsible for the apparent ability of megakaryocytes to internalize fungi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-581
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Cryptococcus
  • Emperipolesis
  • Fungus
  • Histoplasma
  • Megakaryocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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